Andres Schwartz, a US Navy SEAL veteran, casts a bemused gaze at a group of accountants, stay-at-home moms, and pharmaceutical reps as they scramble, sweat pouring into their eyes, over the military-style obstacle course that runs through his gym. He follows them to "The Beast"—an impossibly monstrous pull-up contraption where groups grapple with monkey bars, hoist themselves on rings, and shoulder weights at four squat racks. His unblinking gaze cants toward the ceiling watching a pupil's white-knuckled hand cling to the 12-foot climbing wall, before he turns toward the layered bars of "The Weaver"—a part of the obstacle course's outdoor component. He strolls, arms behind his back, over to a group whose neck tendons strain in unison as they heave against medicine balls, ropes, and kettlebells, the last step in the grueling circuit.
By amassing these functional training fixtures, Andres and his team of trainers prep guests to punch through life's everyday roadblocks. FTX stands for 'Final/Field Training Exercise', and makes up the drills that ensure military personnel are ready for an upcoming mission. FTX CrossFit, brings that concept to the gym, challenging exercisers to complete realistic, if somewhat exaggerated, physical challenges without cheating or cloning a stunt double. The gym's trainers demonstrate CrossFit's signature blend of gymnastics maneuvers, Olympic weightlifts, and bodyweight exercises during classes for both adults and children.
Fase Fitness is essentially two gyms in one. Half of the rectangular workout space houses a strip of artificial turf for very real agility and conditioning drills; the other displays fitness equipment such as kettlebells, medicine balls, climbing ropes, and punching bags. Certified personal trainers Dominick Raymond and Greg Levato make use of both sides while coaching clients of all ability levels. Their engaging boot-camp classes provide full-body workouts with regularly changing routines. Other sessions include cardio kickboxing and Kid Fit, which is a more effective way for children to get in shape than carrying three dictionaries in a backpack.
Underground Core Fitness owner Jeremy Glasgow measures his club’s success in inches, pounds, and repetitions. The ACE-certified personal trainer grants individual attention during small group classes or one-on-one sessions, helping clients meet goals ranging from dropping 10 pounds to accurately sketching a dumbbell. In addition to workouts, the gym supplies nutritional coaching to support guests’ overall health.
The scenic greens of Arrowhead Golf Club, sporting three nine-hole courses that can be combined to play as three distinct par 72, 18-hole courses, keeps its facilities well manicured to give the feel of an exclusive club. Grab a friend or astronaut, and tap buckets of practice balls at the putting and chipping greens, or warm up the swing metronome at the driving range. Pairs board a riding cart to traverse the pastoral playground, whose well-kept bentgrass greens, fairways, and tees sit surrounded by the lush scenery of the Danada Forest Preserve. Throughout the scenic golf garden, players master shots around numerous glassy water hazards, as well as sand traps escaping past lives trapped in hourglasses.
Equipment: Aerial hammocks, poles, Pilates equipment, spin bikes, weights, yoga mats
Students Should Bring: Water, yoga mat
Registration Required: Yes
Good for Beginners: Yes
Average Class Length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class Location: Indoors only
Parking: Parking lot
The sky's the limit at Flying Buddha Fitness. Or, perhaps more appropriately, the ceiling is. Aerial yoga is one of the fitness studio's specialties, and challenges students to perform traditional yoga moves while suspended in fabric hammocks that are attached to the ceiling. It sounds both exhilarating and exhausting, but the method is actually quite accessible for students of all fitness levels. The hammocks are hung close to the ground, so beginners can feel safe as they learn how to use the fabric to maneuver in-and-out of poses, support their body weight, and make old workout clothes feel stylish again, while experienced aerial yogis can work their way up to performing acrobatic maneuvers such as inversions and flips.
Of course, Flying Buddha has plenty of classes for those who prefer to stay on the ground as well. The schedule features everything from meditative vinyasa yoga sessions to upbeat turbo kick and piloxing classes. And, although challenging workouts abound, the studio maintains a family-friendly vibe, as evidenced by its array of youth classes and Friday night family fitness sessions.
Some things never really go out of fashion, such as being in shape, working smarter rather than harder, and barbells. The strength trainers at Wheaton Barbell & Fitness dole out all three in spades. In their general fitness classes, students build muscle and endurance by lifting anything that weighs more than ten pounds and can’t be bolted to the ground, such as classic barbells and kettlebells. Their boot camps change tracks from pure lifting to a more cardio-centric regimen, building heart strength over a series of ever-intensifying classes. The gym’s trainers also schedule one-on-one training sessions in which they relentlessly put clients through their paces, speeding them toward their goals, whether they be to lose weight or recover from injury.
The team doesn’t just train adults. They conduct athletic conditioning courses for kids ages 12 to 18, designed to improve essential cross-sport skills. They even carry out job-specific conditioning for adults who work as firefighters, police officers, construction workers, and package delivery personnel, who train by heaving heavy boxes and outrunning rabid mailmen.